Monday, December 31, 2012

What Was 12 For?

Hmm. "what Was 12 For" doesn't exactly have a nice ring to it. It doesn't fit with the meter of "What was 05 For". (What was oh five for?) I like to listen to this song and ask myself if the things that happened in my year were really all that extraordinary...... because yes, yes they were.

Before this year, I had really never traveled more than driving with my family to the nearest big city, either Chicago or St. Louis, or a couple times to see my sister-in-law in Branson. Before this year, I was pretty introverted and would never have considered actually meeting someone I had only met online. Before this year, I would have been hesitant to ask my husband to take care of my grandma for more than a day or so. (She has Alzheimer's, lives with us, and requires a lot of help.) Before this year, I would not have been able to afford to take off to Washington DC, or L.A. or London.

Many things were the same this year. I actually still am really introverted, but I took a risk and met some of the most amazing new friends. I'm still pretty broke and my family of four drivers share two shitty beaters. But luckily, I had two well-paying gigs at the end of '11 and the beginning of '12 which cushioned the blow a bit (and I had some student loan money to spend on these educational expenses, since I also started grad school).  I had a good year with Grandma (no major illness, surgeries, or setbacks of any kind). I learned my husband is an angel. Him caring for Gram and being supportive of me to do these things I want for myself has been such a joy.

I took three exciting trips and traveled in 2012! I went to The Reason Rally in Washington DC. I went to the filming of the finale of "Californication" in L.A. (What? I didn't write a blog post about that?)  I went to see "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Matilda" in England!!! Part of me has occasionally started to question whether I "deserve" to do this. I think some members of my family judge me for reasons I'm unsure of, but not wanting to ask. At the end of the year though, you know what? I DO deserve this. (And if I don't, then really that is just between me and my immediate family and no one  else's business.) I have spent my whole adult life raising children. I've not been perfect, but I have been dedicated to doing my best to raise boys with compassion, creativity, and critical minds. The past five years I have spent daily caring for Grandma, making her meals, helping her bathe, washing her hair, taking her to exercise in the pool, driving her to appointments, answering the same questions hundreds of times over with a cheerful tone, dealing with stress and sadness beyond description.

It's really not a matter of "deserving" a break or "deserving" fun. I don't like the implications there that people can "earn" happiness or that some are entitled to blessings and some are not. It doesn't have anything to do with deserving this amazing year, but I will say I am grateful and glad that I chose to do these amazing things. I made 2012 amazing for myself and I have no regrets. I'll close my eyes and drink champagne and reminisce.

"A year is like an elephant. You're not allowed to take one home." If I could take one home, this one would be it.

Monday, December 24, 2012

New versions of "old" songs, new versions of old drama

This Christmas season is much like the last. I wrote a post last year about "White Wine in the Sun" and missing my mom. This year, there is a beautiful new studio version of  "White Wine in the Sun". The proceeds from December go to the National Autistic Society of the UK. It can be purchased from iTunes or Amazon US or Amazon UK.  It sounds similar to this version, starting out with Tim and guitar and adding more vocals, piano, and even brass. It is amazingly moving.

Also new on the YouTube recently is Tim performing "Woody Allen Jesus" live at the Coronet. This was filmed professionally for an upcoming documentary. (Yay!)

Last December I wrote about hoping that the year ahead might bring acceptance from my mom. "White Wine in the Sun" talks about knowing at twenty-one or thirty-one that your family will be there for you, and I hoped that by forty-one I might get that privilege. I will turn forty-one in a few weeks.  I have had an A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. year, perhaps the best year of my life filled with joy and adventures, laughter, music, new friends and old friends. Yet I awoke this Christmas eve in tears, missing my mom. That pretty much sums up my whole family conflict. I can deal with the step dad's rejection and hostility and disappointment over my atheism, but it impacts my relationship with my mom. I miss my mom.

This year may start a new version of that dynamic though. My mom is coming over for Christmas for a short while without the step dad. That is what happened on Thanksgiving, and it worked out quite nicely from my perspective. Tomorrow, on Christmas, the step dad won't be feeling well and he won't be able to come over and my mom will come without him. I can predict the future like that because the rest of the family already knows he's not coming and knows the real reason (he won't celebrate a Christian holiday in an atheist house). They have discussed with my mom what time she will be here so they can get a five-generation photo  with the newest addition of our family. (It will be a lovely photo, but I wonder why we celebrate short generations and a pattern of teenage births.) My mom will tell me the step dad isn't well, and she can't stay long because she needs to get home and tend to him. But at least she will come and see her mom, and her new great grandson, and even me, and we will smile and I will drink a lot of wine and hope for a better next year. Her coming without him is a step in the right direction.

In other news about beautiful music, Ethan played "O Holy Night" at church yesterday. Taped from a bad angle, but it was pretty good.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Waiting Patiently, Being told "no", and potential news

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my "Jesus Christ Superstar Arena Tour" DVD.  It has been released in the UK, but I guess it takes Amazon a little longer to get it delivered here. According to them, it should arrive November 26th.  I am really wanting to relive the experience and have heard the DVD is really good. I also hope to get some clarification about questions I have when I re-watch it. My conversation with Ori aboutracism was a little anti-climactic after we saw the arena version.  Ori did not find it offensive at all (which is great) but apparently because she thought the “priests” were members of the Illumniati. I have heard other people say this too, so I’m not saying she’s crazy or wrong or anything, but that wasn't my perception. I thought the “priests” were bankers.  Anyway, I have questions like this and others and really really want to watch it again.

I’m feeling impatient, which was intensified by the cancellation of the cinema showing here in the US. There were several friends and people from church who had purchased tickets to see "Jesus Christ Superstar" being shown in cinemas here. A few hours before the event, we got news it was cancelled with no explanation as to why. Rumor says “technical difficulties”. (By rumor, I mean a Tweet from Tim Minchin.) It was very frustrating to have such a last minute cancellation and no explanation or word on rescheduling.

Rather than throw a little tantrum or anything, I decided I would just get the DVD and see if I could show it at church.  Being UU, we have a committee for EVERYTHING, so I asked permission from the appropriate committee and was hoping they would just let me show it. But being UU, we also have to be legal and ethical and shit, so I was originally told no by the church because we probably wouldn't be able to obtain the correct permission. Of course I said I would try to obtain the permission. I was told by our intern minister (who was in charge of telling me “no”), “Thanks for your passion and willingness to do some leg-work”, which I found amusing because she doesn't know me or the extent of my passion and willingness to do some legwork. I’m sure she will soon enough.

I emailed Universal UK and asked them. They told me to ask The Really Useful Group. I filled out a contact form on The Really Useful Group website, and someone contacted me saying they needed to ask Universal.  Then they got back to me saying that Universal said “no”, but, “They have confirmed, however, that the cancelled cinema screening is being rescheduled, and a date is likely to be set for Easter time.”

So I’m disappointed to not be able to show the DVD at church. I could show it in my house, but I have a crap TV and a crap house. It’s not even, like “It-isn’t-much-but-it-is-enough-for-me”-tight-and-cozy-and-a-nice-place-for-friends-to-gather-watching-a-show-even-if-we’re-squished-into-a-small-room-we-have-good-wine-and-comfy-chairs kind of crap house. It’s a trust-me,-no-one-would-want-to-come-here-and-watch-a-DVD-no-matter-how-great-it-is kind of crap house. So, I guess we’ll wait, with the rest of America, and see it in the theater around “Easter time”. And don’t forget, you heard it here first. Unless that is wrong, then feel free to forget and sorry to disappoint.
To hold you over, here are some clips from the DVD:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Musical Pumpkins

Seeing both musicals a week before Halloween was good pumpkin carving inspiration-

Monday, October 29, 2012

Musicals and memories, friendly friends and friendly squirrels. ENGLAND!!!!

I popped over to England for a few days to see couple musicals. I feel enormously fortunate to have had this amazing experience with my son. The most incredible part turned out not to be the musicals, but the marvelous people I got to meet. The musicals were incredible though. I'll start there.

Jesus Christ Superstar was originally the impetus for this trip. It's not that I LOVED this musical or anything. I had seen a community theater production that was meh and the 1973 film version, which was pretty good.  When I heard Tim Minchin would play Judas, I had an abstract longing to go (similar to how I feel about the production of "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead" co-starring Tim in in Sydney next year). I thought it would be amazing, but didn't think it would be possible to go. It would be crazy to try. As Tim started talking about it though, doing interviews and telling how excited he was about this, his excitement was contagious. I decided I really wanted to go see him to this role of a lifetime which he had wanted to play for many many years.

This was an amazing production. Huge and over the top. One of the first rock operas, performed in an arena, as it was originally intended. The setting and choreography were unique and beautiful. It was a modern interpretation, set on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral, during Occupy protests (or I've seen some reviews that say during the London riots?) complete with reality show voting and pole dancers. Just as most of the reviews have said, Tim Minchin absolutely stole he show. His Judas was so haunting and his voice more gorgeous than I have ever heard.  His death scene was scary brilliant, and when he returned for "Superstar" I wanted to jump up and dance. It was just so much to take in. The whole show was completely over-the-top-brilliant.

Of course, if I was traveling all that way, I HAD TO see "Matilda the Musical".  Words cannot describe how impressive it was. Everything about it was absolutely mind-blowing. The whole theater, even the lobby and the bar were Matdilda-esque. The set was elaborate and magnificent. The acting was incredible, especially the children. They were such professionals. The character of Miss Trunchbull was spectacularly hysterical. The choreography was intricate and intense. The plot was embellished. There were parts added to the original Matilda story. I wasn't sure how I would feel about that, but it worked perfectly and enhanced what was such an endearing story to begin with. And the songs. So brilliantly ingenious, tear jerkingly beautiful, and hysterically funny. I cried and laughed and sat stunned with amazement from start to finish. This was the best performance I have ever seen and heard. It completely exceeded my very high expectations, which were very very high to start with. I cannot wait to see it again (and again and again and again). I have friends who have seen this five, ten, even twenty times, and I can see why.  I'm sure I won't be able to afford such a Matilda habit, but I do plan to see it on Broadway April 4th. Counting down the days starting now.

Speaking of friends, I got to meet the kindest people on my journey. The part of the trip I loved most, more than going to Jesus Christ Superstar, more than Matilda (yes, more than Matilda) was spending time with some people I met online. It sounds crazy, but I planned to meet Ori from Israel (whom I had met very briefly once before in Chicago) and a sweet couple who we had met online offered to let us stay with them on our trip. These people are Tim fans too, of course, and it sounded fun, so we decided we would stay with them for a night.They offered to let us stay as long a we wanted. We ended up spending the whole weekend with them and taking advantage of their kind offers to drive us everywhere. This was an extensive bit of driving they did too. They came into London to get us at the airport, served us a delicious brunch, drove us to a restaurant in Nottingham, drove us to see JCS, drove back to their house, drove us into London again the next day to hang out in a park, then drove us to the West End, then drove us around London after Matilda to see the clock tower, Westminster Abbey, and the London Bridge, drove us to a hotel, then drove us to the Natural History Museum and the Royal Albert Hall the next day, then drove me to the airport hotel I had stayed at the first night because I had left something there, then drove me to a completely different part of London to my hotel in Russell Square. This was so much driving, and they wouldn't hear of taking any money for 'petrol'. That was only the beginning of their generosity and there were so many kind gestures throughout the weekend. Not only were they generous, and helpful, making this trip economical and convenient, they were such pleasant and humorous company! I fell in love with them (and Ori). We had so much fun together, my son and I both thought it would have been worth the trip to London just to have lunch with these fine people.

We got to meet many other Tim fans as well. Both before JCS and before Matilda, we met up with groups of Tim fans we knew from the internet and finally got to meet them in  person. That was so fun and Tim Minchin has the best fans in the world, I think. (Can I say that without sounding narcissistic? ) They are kind and witty and it felt so exciting and comfortable for me to be surrounded by people who like Tim Minchin as much (more maybe?) than I do! I felt at home, even though I was so far away from home.

This was the most amazing journey I have ever taken. I am so fortunate. I will never forget these experiences and these amazing people. I returned a week ago, and it now seems like a dream that was too good to be true, a blur of windy roads, silly car shenanigans, delicious treats, late night games, wonderful walks, meeting strangers who were instantly friends, friendly squirrels, amazing shows, precious time with my son, beers (with my son), hugs and hugs and hugs. And tonight, I get to go see the same production of "Jesus Christ Superstar", which was filmed live and is being shown in a movie theater here in Peoria. Life's a ball (so learn to throw it)!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Overuse of Metaphor

“Some of them had loved her for years. They had every recording she ever made. They kept a notebook and wrote down every place they had seen her, listing the music, the names of the cast, the conductor. There were others there that night who had not heard her name, who would have said, if asked, that opera was a collection of nonsensical cat screechings, that they would much rather pass three hours in a dentist’s chair. These were the ones who wept openly now, the ones who had been so mistaken.”

“He had seen eighteen performances featuring Roxane Coss. The first was a lucky coincidence, the other times he went to the city where she would be, creating business to take him there. He saw La Sonnambula three nights in a row. He had never sought her out or made himself to be anything more than any other member of the audience. He did not assume his appreciation for her talent exceeded anyone else’s. He was more inclined to believe only a fool would not feel about her exactly how he felt. There was nothing more to want than the privilege to sit and listen.” from Bel Canto, by Anne Pratchett

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Excited (School)

I'm feeling very overwhelmed excited to be going back to graduate school to work on my degree in counseling. I like being a student, but find I need more coffee time to learn and study things than I did when I was younger. I need to become less obsessed with Tim Minchin more disciplined in doing my homework. Not only will I be practicing counseling skills, I will be observing counseling, and going to counseling myself, to experience the process as a client and as an opportunity for working through my own fucked up shit growth. So here's to new beginnings for me, and here's a funny video about therapy-

Monday, August 20, 2012

"Hey JC, You're Alright By Me"- in which we travel thousands of miles to see a play we might find racist

An American, an Israeli, and some Brits walk into a bar in Nottingham…. There’s no punch line (yet) because it hasn’t happened yet. This may well happen when I go meet my friend, Ori, who is from Israel, and we go to see Jesus Christ Superstar in England. We’ve purchased our tickets months in advance, and have been excitedly planning our trip. In our anticipation about the show, we’ve been discussing many aspects, but one that is intriguing to us is that the play can be viewed as anti-Jewish.

In my discussions with Ori, I find that a lot of notions ingrained from my WASP upbringing, that I hadn’t even realized were biased, are essentially…ummm…wrong. First of all, in our discussions, I was using the term “anti-Semitic”. Ori has corrected me a couple of times, and I will now try to use the term “anti-Jewish”. Secondly, growing up in the Bible-belt here, when we talk about something in the New Testament, we just say, “In the Bible”. This has led to some amusing exchanges, as Ori and I try to discuss whether something is in the Bible or not, if I am referring to the New Testament as the Bible. So I will try to say New Testament, when we are talking about…umm, yeah, the New Testament. Which is probably what we will be talking about, given the subject matter of the musical.

Ori and I have both watched the 1973 film version of Jesus Christ Superstar, but not the 2000 version.  I think although Ori finds the original lyrics troublesome, she felt especially offended by the portrayal of the Jewish clerics and the Jewish masses in the film. I will let her elaborate more.

So, welcome, my first guest blogger, Ori!  We have discussed a bit here and there about Ori’s reactions after seeing the film, and have realized that this is an important and interesting topic. I am going to make a list of questions or perhaps brief comments, and Ori can elaborate about her perspective and conclusions, and add any additional comments, or even questions for …umm…whoever may read this post, (maybe those Brits in the joke which hasn’t happened yet).

Directed to Ori:

- Do you want to include any background about yourself? I mentioned you are from Israel. Anything else? If not, that’s OK, of course.

- Will you discuss the term "anti-Jewish", as opposed to "anti-Semitic"?

- You have mentioned that when you first saw the film, you had an initial gut reaction about the racism in it that was later confirmed for you by reading other people’s similar opinions. Will you elaborate on why you feel the film is racist, and your feelings of realizing that others feel this way too?

- One of my reactions to hearing you say that the Jewish clerics were portrayed negatively was, “Well, that is how they were portrayed in the New Testament. It’s not the play’s fault.” Almost immediately, I realized the inherent bias I am showing there. First of all, even though I am no longer Christian, I realize I still hold this assumption that the New Testament is a more or less a historically accurate (albeit embellished with supernaturalism) telling of events. I had NEVER thought about how the New Testament itself can be read as anti-Jewish, and its portrayals may not be at all accurate in many ways. (I’m being stupid, but honest.)

- Do you find the New Testament to be anti-Jewish? Are there Jewish versions of the Christ story? How would you prefer the clerics and the crowds in JCS be portrayed?

- You have said the film is especially offensive, but that the racism is embedded in the lyrics. I found a quote by Tim Rice, discussing how he wrote Judas:
He did what he did, not because he was basically evil, but because he was intelligent. He could see Christ becoming something he considered harmful to the Jews. Judas felt that they been persecuted enough. As far as what Christ was saying, general principles of how human beings should live together – Judas approved of this. What Judas was worried about was that as Christ got bigger and bigger and more popular, people began switching their attentions from what Christ was saying to Christ himself. They were saying that Jesus is God, here is the new Messiah, and Judas was terrified because, a.) he didn’t agree with it – he thought Christ was getting out of control and it was affecting Him, and b.) Judas reckoned that if the movement got too big and people began worshipping Christ as a god, the Romans who were occupying Israel would come down and clobber them. – Superstar lyricist Tim Rice  source

When I read this, I got the impression that Tim Rice, at least here, at least in this one aspect of his intentions for Judas, wanted to make Judas protective of the Jews. Does that make his lyrics less offensive at all?

-I’ve read three complaints, in this article, and other places that some consider JCS blasphemous, some consider it anti-black, and some consider it anti-Jewish? Do you have any comments about the first of those two?

- Is there anything else you want to add, or discuss?

Ori's Response

First of all, I want to thank you for letting me be a part of this post. The questions are perfect. I assume the subject was thoroughly discussed in 1973, but I wasn't alive then, so I'm very happy I get to discuss it now. OK, I'll dive in.

-         I'm glad you asked about background, because I feel I need to provide some anyway, and you just gave me an excuse.

I was born and raised Jewish in Israel (which is the perfect excuse for my poor English and lack of eloquence. I hope I can be coherent enough). I was a child of two Holocaust babies (which might explain my enhanced sensitivity to this issue). My mother was very religious and forced the entire family to do silly things like pray, eat kosher food etc.

I was always secular. I'd tease my mother about her ridiculous ways even as a small child, while trying to keep a balance between my mocking and being given up for adoption.
I think the most important thing I can say is that everything I will say from now on is personal: I'm not a rabbi or scholar of religion, and not an authority on anything. Whatever opinions or thoughts I express are representative of me alone (even if I've seen a lot of them expressed before by others).

-         The "anti-Semitic" vs. the "anti-Jewish" thing. That's my own fussiness getting in the way. Wikipedia may not be the most accurate source, but its definition of the term "Semitic" is sufficient for this discussion: "The term Semite means a member of any of various ancient and modern Semitic-speaking peoples originating in southwestern Asia, including; Akkadians (Assyrians and Babylonians), Eblaites, Ugarites, Canaanites, Phoenicians (including Carthaginians), Hebrews (Israelites, Judeans and Samaritans), Ahlamu, Arameans, Chaldeans, Amorites, Moabites, Edomites, Hyksos, Arabs, Nabateans, Maganites, Shebans, Sutu, Ubarites, Dilmunites, Bahranis, Maltese, Mandaeans, Sabians, Syriacs, Mhallami, Amalekites and Ethiopian Semites." I have no idea how this term came to mean "anti-Jewish". Since "anti-Semitic" is the commonly used term, we can use it. It just bothers me in the same way that hearing Tim combine his Latin and Greek words bothers me. I can live with it, and I'm not really that anal about it, but it's just not accurate.

-         Two questions for the price of one. I'll start with the one that asks why I think the film is racist. In order to respond to that I need to define how I see "anti-Semitism" (or "anti-Jewism"). In an article about the character of the Jew over the centuries, a history professor (whose name I can't add here because I can't find how he spells it in English anywhere) explains that the church isolated the character of the Jew and represented the Jew as a demon; a diabolic devilish evil entity. According to him, the church claimed the Jew embodies evil forces and must not be placed among the "good" creatures of the world. Here's a link, if you can read Hebrew (or just feel like staring at some Hebrew scribbling): source

The Hebrew version of Wikipedia which talks of the character of the Jew in Nazi propaganda was edited and some parts didn't make it into the English translation. According to Wikipedia, among other representations of the Jews, they were seen as parasites, pests, long nosed rodents (rats, for example). In caricatures drawn in the 1940's they are represented with a curved nose, and described as greedy murderous rapists. See Der ewige Jude, "The Eternal Jew" or "The Wandering Jew". 

(Cover of the film "The Eternal Jew", released in 1940)

These tales, by the way, are reinforced by my grandparents and other holocaust survivors. I apologize for only drawing on Hebrew sources; sources are not as easy to find in English. You'll just have to trust me, or not.

I hope this clears the matter of why I think the film is racist. Jesus' followers aren't Jews. They're Christians. The only actual Jews you see in the film are the clerics. The very sexy clerics (I doubt the real clerics had abs like the movie clerics, but I'm not complaining). You see a group of clerics, two of which get a prime spot in front of the cameras; the others just repeat what the front two are saying. The "head of the order" - tall and funny-hatted with the deep voice, and the shorter, lean, thin-voiced "counselor", whispering his opinions and advice in the ear of the "head guy". I don't even know where to begin. These characters are so stereotypical and caricaturesque it makes me want to puke. The thing that hits home for me, and removes any doubt from my mind is the depiction of the "counselor" character with long narrow snake-like hat and conniving expressions, his low voice and slithery secretive behavior. The Jews in the film come up with a secret plan to destroy Jesus, who is infringing on their territory, (while they plan, the "head guy" says to his little assistant "we need a more permanent solution". Sound familiar?) The clerics pay Judas for his help. They don't just pay. They pay well. Why? Because they can. Because they have the money to pay for it.

These scenes in which the Jews are plotting and planning a murder are reminiscent of all those movies where the powerful king has an evil counselor bending his ear and controlling him. The counselor is always the evil demonic character who must die or be imprisoned by the end of the film in order to reach a happy end.

While I was looking through those scenes in search of a good image to add to the post, I noticed a subtle light shift going through the scene. When the "head guy" speaks and the "counselor" listens the faces are lit up and all expressions are visible. When the little guy opens his mouth, the scene becomes much darker. The scene is on YouTube here, in case you want to check it out:

To sum up, according to the film, what are the Jews? Rats. Snakes. Conniving plotters, murderers, power thirsty and fame hungry. It reminded me of all those Nazi newspaper caricatures I've seen in the Yad VaShem Museum. It actually physically hurt.

Now for the second part of the question. Whenever I have any thought or opinion, I always assume it's just me, and keep it to myself, the way a minority of one would. I felt very strongly about this subject, but said nothing, until Mary posted an article that reaffirmed my views. This is the reason I feel comfortable enough to do this post thing.

-         When we were discussing this issue and you said this is how Jews are portrayed in the New Testament, I was greatly surprised. I confess, I have never read the New Testament, and I didn't know it went back that far. Judaism has a lot of sects (or groups, or currents, I don't know what to call them), and each has its own version of religion. Being secular and atheist I don't know that much about versions of the Jesus story, aside from what being a part of a religious family and spending a year in a religious school could teach me. As far as I know, for Jews the bible ends at the end of the first part. The Jesus story doesn’t exist. In fact, I'm pretty sure in most religious communities here it's forbidden (as is the Qur'an).  

I wouldn't be so harsh on the New Testament for being a racist book. It was written as a sequel to the Jewish bible, and that book has racism written right into it. I've known quite a few religious Jews who are wise, enlightened, kind… and very racist, as a result of the bible. And the needle on the offensive meter goes to 100%…

To clarify: I work for an office that serves only the religious market, and a lot of the people I work with are wonderful people. However, they occasionally make the most racist comments in a very offhand way; as if they were absolute truths everyone has already acknowledged. I'm going to get killed over this, aren't I? 

As for how I'd like them to be portrayed – I have no idea. Probably less caricature-like. How would you like them to be portrayed? 

-         About the lyrics: I don't think the lyrics themselves are racist. Had I just heard the soundtrack, I would have had no problem with it. But having seen the film, I couldn't think of any way to represent it which isn't extremely racist. I honestly hope I’m completely visionless and the new production will not be racist at all, but I have strong doubts about that.

I think having a black Judas (am I allowed to use "black"? I don't mean to be offensive) can be seen as an anti-black thing. I love the character. I don't think they could have made Judas look any better than he did (even if he seemed a bit jealous of Jesus' success to me). Still, in spite of how "good" he is in the film, historically his character is the infinite backstabbing traitor no matter how you portray him. I think it doesn't matter how Judas is played, it's always going to seem to some people as an anti-whatever the person who played Judas was (so I suppose in this new production it'll be seen as anti-young white wealthy male. I don't think there's a term for that. White-ism?).

I have to say, before I'm remembered as the most negative person in the world by anyone reading this post that I can't see a way in which this musical can be completely without racism, due to the story it's based on. Besides that, I think the film is a masterpiece, I love the music, and I'm completely addicted to the soundtrack. Sorry for going on so long (and being offensive). I can't wait for the joke to happen; I know it'll be fun and funny.

Ori, I think your English is impressive, and is more eloquent than many native speakers (myself included)! I’m glad you are willing to write such a comprehensive explanation of your views! I only have minor disagreements, and those may be simply based on my ignorance. First, I thought that the masses of followers in the movie were considered Jews, and only Jesus’ apostles or close friends were considered Christians. I’m not sure if that is because they called Jesus “king of the Jews”, or if I just read that in a movie synopsis somewhere.  Either way, it is largely irrelevant, except that some people think the “masses” were considered fickle, first showering Jesus with affection, then later turning on him. But that seems to be other people’s complaint, not yours.

I see what you are saying about the black Judas, but I do not think casting a black actor for Judas was racist or even a bad idea. (I don’t think it’s offensive to say “black”, especially when the article we are referring to used the term “black”.) I think we should not even notice the skin color of the actor. Can you imagine if they had intentionally NOT made Judas black? If they had said, “Carl, nailed it. Your voice is incredible and you show such depth of character and would be perfect for this role, but we’re not going to have a black Judas.” THAT would be racist. Also, given that Judas is really the protagonist here, I think we should definitely try to move beyond any accusations of casting the black man as the evil character.

The things that interest me the most about your post, are the ways in which racism from all angles may be all around us, and we don’t even notice it, be it in the remarks of your coworkers, or in a sacred text, or in songs or in this film.  The fact that we don’t notice them isn’t just indicative of our ignorance or lack of sensitivity, it is a telling sign that what is imperceptible to some may be outright painful to others. When someone tells me something is hurtful, I want to be more aware of it now, even if I hadn’t noticed it before, and hope to not do things to contribute to that hurt. I was going to say it is also a way of saying the offended person is always right, but I don’t think this is an issue of right or wrong and it it’s not something that can be argued and intellectualized. It’s just an issue of empathy, and I thank you for helping me understand your feelings.

I'm never confident about my level of English around native English speakers. I doubt I'll ever get over that, but I'm glad this arrangement seems to have worked (and glad you think it's impressive. Thank you).

Regarding the masses: they started out mostly Jewish, but in the end they weren't. Since I can't back my understanding of the story with any real authority, I won't go into it. Suffice it to say - they were Jewish in the beginning (so was Jesus), and they didn't end up as a current of Judaism, but rather a completely separate religion. 

I agree with you that denying someone work because they're black is obviously racist, and I don't think they were anti-black when they chose him for the part. I just think it can easily be seen as anti-black by some people who aren't us. 

I completely agree with your statement about offensiveness. It's not about who's right or wrong, it's about how the people we communicate with feel about what we're saying, and how we choose to deal with it. If we don't want to offend people, we won't use certain words that offend them (or we will use those words, if we don't mind offending them so much).

Anyway, thank you for this invitation to co-post with you. I must admit I've never done anything like this before (I have an obscure blog somewhere, but I've never written anything opinionated in it. It was mostly for silly prose or trip updates), and I'm feeling a little afraid of what might happen as a result of some of the things I wrote. I'm sure everything will be ok, though. 

This was fun we should do it again sometime. 

If you're still with us, thanks for reading! Ori and I would love to hear thoughts on this subject and continue this discussion. Leave comments!! Big thanks to our friend, Cyn, for proofreading this for us, and helping us both with our less-than-perfect English.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

On Being Religious AND Secular (and maybe too concerned about labels)

I’ve been thinking about semantics lately, and the words “secularist” and “religious”.  I’ve been wondering if I am living in some sort of dichotomy or false dichotomy. Can I be religious and secularist (or is it just secular?) at the same time?  Yes, of course I can, but how do I explain that, especially when I think most people equate the word “secular” with “non-religious”?

Secular doesn’t just refer to non-religious. The AmericanHeritage Dictionary offers the deifinition,  “Relating to or advocating secularism”. Secularism, in turn, defined by the same source is “The view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education.”

UUs definitively support secularism. We even have a statement on the matter (of course)-

Religion and State

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) has long expressed our support of the separation of church and state in relation to public education, partisan politics, free exercise and religious pluralism. For this reason, the UUA works to ensure that federal dollars are not used to fund religious discrimination, to combat government endorsement of religious beliefs, and to ensure freedom of religious expression.
Tim Minchin (somewhat) recently tweeted a couple videos about secularism and humanism. He is in the humanism one. The secularism one has a lot relating to British government, but I love that within the first minute, there is a thorough explanation of secularism as we UUs use it, AND it then clarifies that it benefits both the religious and non-religious and should be supported by atheists and believers alike, showing these various terms-

I love seeing the term “religious atheist” there. I recently changed my blog description to describe myself that way, and I worried I was making up some crazy term that no one would understand.
If you are interested in understanding more about secularism and humanism, these videos are good introductions or good summaries to share. Mary- the Universalist Unitarian Secular Humanist Religious Atheist

Humanism (with Tim Minchin)-

Monday, June 18, 2012

One Year Timiversary; I Think I'll Just Keep Swimming Down down down

It has been one year since the first time I saw Tim Minchin live. What a journey this has been. I’ve lost one (sort of) friend. I’ve gained many many more friends. Not that numbers matter when it comes to friends, but I’m really enjoying the online and in-person interactions with fellow Tim fans.  I’ve gained hours of laughter with my family. I’ve gained lots of discussion with my church family.  I’ve gained adventures and anticipation.

So, in the course of this year, I’ve seen Tim perform twice in Chicago, once in St. Louis, and once in Washington D.C. My current plans are now taking me to ENGLAND!!! In October, Ethan and I are going to see Jesus Christ Superstar, starring Tim Minchin as Judas, in Nottingham.

Then we are seeing Matilda the Musical.

We are meeting a friend from Israel and staying with friends in Rugby. I think this has been the happiest year of my life, and I cannot wait for what the future holds. There are worse addictions. I love being hooked. I’m drowned.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Whiny Rant about attempts at atheist activism

The atheists say, “Come out! We need numbers to get more numbers, to show the atheists in hiding they’re not alone. We’re nearing the critical mass, when so many people are coming out that it will soon be no big deal to come out. Come out! Join us! If you are an atheist, use the name atheist.”

 I saw oppression and injustice. Death threats against Jessica Ahlquist. Public polls saying people won’t vote for an atheist, people saying rapists are most likely to be atheist, hateful rhetoric, discrimination in the Boy Scouts and the military.

 I’ve been atheist for twenty years. I haven’t hidden it, but I haven’t gone around announcing it either. The atheist activists had me convinced that it was time for people like me to speak up, to join the ranks, take a stand, and make a difference.

 I started saying it more, posting facebook posts and Tweets and talking about it at church. I lost some friends. Some family relationships are strained. A woman in my community started talking badly about me to my coworkers and parents of my students. My resolve grew stronger. Now I was experiencing firsthand this atheophobia. “THIS. THIS is why we need to come out”, I thought.

I tried to be even more active. I started talking up the Reason Rally, trying to recruit people from my church to go. I painted A’s on my toes.
I went to the Reason Rally and made my photos public on Facebook. I loved the swelling of pride and feeling like we were swelling in numbers after this national event. I posted my picture on Facebook for “Ask an Atheist Day”, and had a conversation with over 150 comments.
I have dabbled in trying to join atheist discussions on blogs and message boards, and inevitably, that other aspect of my religious identity comes up. The UU part. The accepting part, the part that is not willing to “ridicule with contempt”, the part that still wants to see the good aspects of religions and the good people who practice them, the part that believes interfaith dialogue is essential in the world we live in today.

 You know what? I feel less than welcome sometimes with the atheist activists. I’ve been called an apologist and an accomodationist. People ask “why do you even want to go to church”, but I don’t think many listen to my answer.

Look. I share their lack of belief. THERE IS NO GOD. I’ll use the word atheist. I am atheist. I’m not sure what the big deal is about anything else. Why do they care how I live my life or what I value or where I find joy?

My last post was the “accomodationist” side of me being whiny about not fitting in, but I just don’t get why I can't fit in with the atheists. Since I’ve been more out and active as an atheist, I’ve basically been met with criticism from the atheists (while in the midst of my pro-atheist fervor, my congregation has asked me to serve on the board of trustees.)

As I become more familiar with the atheist activists, I’m not really liking how harsh they can seem when they disagree. For all their love of “freethinking”, they seem quick to judge people with different ideas. I hope that someday, we can all say atheist, and it won’t matter what we believe, and we will all be treated with worth and dignity and respect. I hope the atheist activists acknowledge that atheists are diverse.

So, after trying the activist thing, I’m feeling less interested in joining their ranks. So it is weird to me to be saying I’m going to back down a bit with the atheist stuff, and it’s not because of any response I’m getting from Christians, or my family, or community, or friends. It’s because of the atheists.

I realize I've made a lot of sweeping generalizations, and I shouldn't judge the whole lot of them based on my initial impressions of a few. I have met lots of friendly atheists, and ones who seem accepting of my love of my church (and not just those at my church). I'm just feeling irritated right now. I'll get over it and keep trying to build bridges soon. I think I just need a little break.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Sometimes I feel a bit different than some of my friends"

I have early and intense memories of thinking very differently than those around me, often even in opposition to what adults told me. I now recognize these instances as the early formation of what I would now call morals. Some of these, I think would be understood by almost everyone. For instance, when I was staying with my great-grandma and went across the street to play in the schoolyard with children in her neighborhood, and returned to her waiting on the porch with a pink basin of water and a bar of Ivory soap, I KNEW that there was something very very wrong with her insistence that I wash up before coming in the house after playing with "those colored children".

Some of these instances may be less universal. I remember learning where meat comes from and instantly knowing I would never eat meat again. For several months, I spent evening after evening sitting at the dinner table for hours, not being allowed to get up until I cleaned my plate. I would cry myself to sleep at the table many times before my parents let me be a vegetarian.

In grade school, I had a couple close friends but I never fit in. Very early in high school, I got "saved" and became a Bible-carrying Jesus freak. By the time I graduated I had rejected that religion, but instead of going to college, I got married and became a young mother- a young mother who used cloth diapers, and didn't do Santa Claus, and modeled for figure drawing classes for extra cash.

Basically, I'm trying to paint a picture of how I have never fit in. I manage to be an outsider in almost every group to which I belong. Maybe "outsider" is too strong of a word. I'd rather say I'm a bit different. Even now, in my little conservative community, I'm different for being an atheist. I notice that among atheists, I'm different for embracing a religion.

There is one place where I never feel like an outsider, and that is church. It is my place where I can come as I am, believe what I want, speak my heart and mind, even disagree with people, and I know I will be welcomed. I love this song, "Quiet" from Matilda. The beginning takes me back to my childhood, being so different, and adults shouting, and the TV blaring, and my head spinning. I think It took me a long time to find my "quiet", but now I have. My church is my "quiet".

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reason Rally Recap, Part 2- nosce te ipsUUm; know thyself

The part of the day I was looking forward to the most was Tim Minchin's performance. First, I want to say I am IMMENSELY grateful that he performed at this . I think it was a huge boost for attendance, and numbers mattered here. Would I have made this trip if it were not for Minchin's performance? Maybe, if I had known about it, but I'm not sure it even would have been on my radar, if not for being obsessed with Tim, and his being on the program certainly influenced my decision to go. I've seen reports that the crowd was biggest during his performance. I'm enormously appreciative that he took the time and effort to support this cause.

I can't help but wonder, though, if he was not entirely enthused to be giving the effort. I felt a bit surprised by some of his song choices. I felt a bit surprised and disappointed he didn't talk more. (I'm sorry. I'm just being honest about my feelings here.) I realize he owed us nothing and gave a great performance. My disappointment is just me admiting this and does not diminish how great his show was, how much it was enjoyed by the audience, or how awesome it was for him to do this. I think that because he is such "an icon for the disenfranchised masses" in a way that is way more serious and true than he ever meant those words to be, maybe we (I) had naive (that word again) hopes that he would have some special message for us, something I haven't already heard the three other times I have seen him perform.

Although he didn't talk much, he did say a few new things. The first was when he first came on stage. After removing his shoes and socks by popular demand (and undoing his belt and pants) he said, "What is wrong with you people, standing in the rain because you all don't believe something similar?" Then he went right into "Confessions".

After the song, he said, "This is fun I guess. This is sort of fun. I don't want to be here. We don't want to be here. Pity really, isn't it? That 300 years after The Enlightenment, we'd still have to be here having a fucking rally for the obvious?"

Of course, I understand what he is saying, that it is sad that in this day and age there is a need for a Reason Rally. But at the end of the day, I was left wondering if he meant it that he really didn't want to be here (which would make me appreciate the gesture all the more. I feel a bit shitty about writing this, but I do want to be honest, and maybe I'm way off base. I'm learning that I often am.) At the end of the show, he did say, "You guys are doing a wonderful, wonderful, soggy thing. Thank You."

I just wonder if he felt a bit annoyed by it all? I am thankful for him though, and thoroughly enjoyed the show, and hope he had a spectacular time. Maybe he got to enjoy "breaking bread with Dawkins" and do something scienc-y with Adam Savage. I'm truly glad I went, and aside from the Pledge sans "under god", which was a new experience for me, his show was my favorite part of my day. The Pope Song on the National Mall? Who would have thought? I fucking love freedom of speech.

I really wanted to see Nate Phelps' speech, but I missed it. There came a point in the afternoon when I was pretty cold, tired, wet, and had a headache. The kids had walked down to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum and we went to retrieve them and get a coffee. It was quite a hike to get there and back, and when we returned I had missed the speech. Nate is the son of Westboro Baptist Church leader, Fred Phelps, and he left the group at age 18. WBC was protesting the Rally. This is a photo of his mother, taken a few minutes before he took the stage. (photo from Village Voice blog)

I wish I would have been there for the speech, but watching now, I'm sure I would have cried, (getting even more wet). It is a very moving and sad speech, even if I had no personal experience with controlling religion or estranged relationships. I'm not sure why I did not anticipate this effect on me, but long forgotten memories of belonging to (and I felt like I literally BELONGED TO) an Assemblies of God church, combined with the pain of currently having a strained relationship with some of my family, made this speech even more sad and poignant for me. Not that my circumstances were nearly as extreme as Nate Phelps'. I admire his courage and compassion and the hard-earned wisdom he shared with such sorrow in his voice.

I was bolstered by these words. “They called me a rebel. For years, I wore that name with shame until I realized that confronted with the god of my father, rebellion is the only moral option.”

I know I made the right choice being a rebel and leaving my god and religion.

Yesterday, I wrote about feeling some cognitive dissonance during Greta Christina's speech, but ultimately agreeing with her statements at the end. I had the opposite experience with Richard Dawkins' speech. It started out as a much needed, encouraging reminder of the treasure we have in our Constitution.

"The American Constitution is a precious treasure, the envy of the world. The First Amendment of the Constitution, which enshrines the separation between church and state, is the model for secular constitutions the world over and deserves to be imitated the world over. How sad it would be if in the birthplace of secular constitutions the very principle of secular constitutions were to be betrayed in a theocracy. But it's come close to that."

It continues with an exciting prospect that we are at the moment in history when atheists everywhere feel connected and unafraid and there is a mass "coming out".

"I hope that this meeting will be a turning point. I'm sure many people have said that already. I like to think of a physical analogy of a critical mass. There are too many people in this country who have been cowed into fear of coming out as atheists or secularists or agnostics. We are far more numerous than anybody realizes. We are approaching a tipping point, we're approaching that critical mass, where the number of people who have come out becomes so great that suddenly everybody will realize, "I can come out, too." That moment is not far away now. And I think that with hindsight this rally in Washington will be seen as a very significant tipping point on the road."

Both these ideas are so exhilarating! He then elaborates on evolution and what a beautiful, profound, amazing process it is that we have evolved to be intelligent, then cleverly suggests WE intelligently design our lives. Powerful stuff.

However our views diverge towards the end of the speech. Dawkins wants us to not only disagree with religious beliefs but to "ridicule them with contempt".

"So when I meet somebody who claims to be religious, my first impulse is: "I don't believe you. I don't believe you until you tell me do you really believe -- for example, if they say they are Catholic -- do you really believe that when a priest blesses a wafer it turns into the body of Christ? Are you seriously telling me you believe that? Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood?" Mock them! Ridicule them! In public!

Don't fall for the convention that we're all too polite to talk about religion. Religion is not off the table. Religion is not off limits. Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated and need to be challenged and, if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt."

I can imagine no value in ridiculing a religion, nor a person, nor even a belief. I can disagree without ridicule and contempt. Indeed, I believe it is essential to do so in order for me to retain my sense of morals and ethics. Ridicule and contempt breeds hatred and war. There HAS TO BE a better way to achieve the worthy goals espoused by Dawkins earlier in his speech: REASON, upholding the Constitution, separation of church and state, embracing science, and becoming a nation in which atheists live openly without fear of persecution or ridicule. We must achieve this without persecuting or ridiculing others for their beliefs. I believe the path to REASON must be built with compassion ans respect.

So, that about sums it up. Even if it is uncomfortable, I love questioning my own beliefs, more than I enjoy questioning others'. That's what makes me UU.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Reason Rally Recap, Part 1- E Pluribus UUnum?

The Reason Rally was one of the most incredible events I've been to in my life. It was definitely a wonderful experience to share with my son. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime, unique event. There were amazing speakers and performers. The crowd and the atmosphere were invigorating. Well, the actual physical atmosphere was actually pretty sucky and rainy most of the day. There was so much packed into this one day, I'm finding it difficult to even recap and summarize, let alone analyze or explicate.

It is especially difficult because as I reflect, I have such a mixture of emotions. Although there were many moments of joy, and solidarity, and inspiration, looking back, I feel....unsettled. I'm not surprised to have a tinge of post-rally depression from coming down off a humanist high, going from being lost in a sea of free-thinkers to returning to my community where I sometimes feel isolated and shunned. That's to be expected, I think. But I also have a sense of sadness I did not anticipate, stirred up from a past history of being entwined in a negative religious community. I thought I had put that behind me and am surprised to feel old wounds surface. Furthermore, I've I've developed an uncomfortable awareness of my own naivety that I also didn't expect. A lot of these emotions were interspersed with the ups and downs of the day, and the excitement and exhaustion, and rain and bits of sun. I'm still sorting the memories and feelings, and the photos and the videos. I'm going to try to relate my account of the day and sort some of it here.

Photo from CNN Belief Blog

I was really hoping to connect with some UU's there. Unfortunately, I didn't make any actual plans to meet up with anyone. I just thought I'd search for the yellow shirts. (Yes, this is one small aspect of my already admitted naivety.) When we boarded the bus in Chicago with an odd number in our party, we had been discussing who gets to sit with a "stranger". As we were deciding where to sit, a woman spotted Ethan's shirt and asked if he was UU. He settled in next to her, and our journey started out on a great note.

Once we were in DC, before the rally even started, another UU spotted our shirts and we chatted and snapped a pic. Then that was the last we saw of any UU's, maybe because shirts quickly got covered with raincoats and ponchos as the rain started.

The best part of the Rally, for me, came right at the beginning. (Nope, it was not Tim Minchin.) We recited the Pledge of Allegiance the way it was before the words "under god" were added in 1954.

This was an amazing 15 seconds. I struggle with this issue almost every day, as a substitute teacher. I feel very strongly that the words "under god" should not be in the Pledge. Whether or not students should be mindlessly reciting the Pledge at all is another issue. If we are going to say the Pledge, let's make it inclusive for all students.

I love The Friendly Atheist blog, and enjoyed Hemant Mehta's speech. He presented the Jessica Ahlquist with a scholarship check for $62,618. The "for" line on the check read "bravery". I loved that. Here is the video of that and her speech:

Another fun and inspirational speaker was Adam Savage from Mythbusters.

So, so far, everything was fun and exciting and wonderful, even in the rain.

Then, Greta Christina took the stage to talk about why atheists are angry. I was right with her as she ticked off atrocities that make me angry too. Wait. What? The Dalai Lama makes you angry? Oh no. Now it's not just Tim Minchin who is telling me the Dalai Lama is not who I thought he was. "I'm angry that the current Dalai Lama said that although he supports tolerance for gay people, he sees homosexual sex as wrong, unwholesome, a bad action, and contrary to Buddhist ethics. I'm angry that the belief in karma and reincarnation gets used as the justification for the caste system in India. I'm angry that people born into poverty and despair are told it is their fault, that they did something bad in a past life, and they are being punished for it."

See my blog avatar there? --------> That's me, sitting on a fence, holding a picture of the Dalai Lama. I'm doing that because of a Tim Minchin song, "The Fence", (blog post to come, I promise). He talks about the whole reincarnation thing and doesn't even mention the homosexual sex thing (Well, he does, but that is in an earlier verse referencing Che Guevera, rather than the Dalai Lama.) Long story short, I've been "on the fence" not knowing what to think of the Dalai Lama, and Buddhism. That fence just got way more uncomfortable to sit on. And what's this about the Mormon's? I had never heard of "Lying for the Lord".

So, in spite of feeling increasingly ignorant and naive and confused (and angry) during her speech, by the end, I really took heart at this sentiment (because I agree and it makes me feel better about myself)- "Atheists aren't angry because we are selfish, or bitter, or joyless. Atheists are angry because we have compassion. Atheists are angry because we have a sense of justice." This is the part of atheism I love to identify with. I need to learn the love part which tests what it means to be skeptical and challenges my worldview. (Obviously. That's what we demand as a movement. I demand it of myself as well.)

It's getting late. I need to get up and lead schoolchildren in the Pledge of Allegiance in the morning. Tomorrow night, I'll continue with Tim Minchin, Nate Phelps, and Richard Dawkins.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Reason Rally and Rain- Bring It On, bring it on

I can't sleep. I'm excited about leaving for the Reason Rally tomorrow. My sixteen year old son and I are going with my friend and her daughter. We are driving three hours to Chicago to board a bus which will drive us fifteen hours to Washington DC, to what looks like will also be the Rain Rally (80% chance of rain and thunderstorms most of the day).

I was going to say that a reason for going is to teach my son about standing for our freedoms and having the personal integrity to be "out" as an atheist. Upon further reflection, however, I realize that more and more, he is the one teaching these lessons to me. Normally he goes to a piano lesson on Friday afternoons. His piano (and French horn) teacher is a good musician and a good music teacher. She's also a fundamentalist Christian type. I recently found out she left in the middle of a school anti-bullying assembly for which she was providing piano accompaniment for the choir, because there was mention of anti-gay bullying. Eth will miss his piano lesson tomorrow since we will be in route to Chicago to catch our DC Rally Bus. I asked him if he told her where he was going and he had. He also told her what the rally was about and used the words "I am an atheist". By contrast, sometimes I've kind of said "oh it's a secularist HUMANIST gathering, and it's PEAK cherry blossom season!", when telling certain people where I am going this weekend. That was quite a risk for my son, who loves and respects this teacher he has had for five years. So, maybe this is venture is more of an opportunity for him to lead and teach me, and for us to go celebrate our freedom together.

We are also going to represent so many more who can't go. The attendance predictions for this are between 30,000 and 50,000 people!! And most atheists are NOT going. I wonder what the ratio is for number of atheists that aren't going for each one who is. I've read so many comments by people who cannot attend wanting to be represented. Some people are making signs listing all the people they know who can't come.

Of people I know that cannot come, many are members of my church. At least six had reservations for the Peoria bus that got cancelled. Another is wheelchair bound and the bus was not accessible anyway. Several more could not afford to go or had schedule conflicts. So I also go to represent not only people from my congregation, but UU's everywhere. (I also hope to see many UU's there!) I'm still mulling over sign ideas. I'm considering "Godless But Not Churchless- Unitarian Universalists Support Separation of Church and State!" Or something like that. I don't know. I'm always making myself even more of a minority than I already am, like I can't just be an atheist; why do I have to proclaim, "I'm an atheist who loves church"? Well, because I love church I guess. (And Eth and I are going to wear our Standing on the Side of Love shirts. Awww, how cool is that (for me), that my teenager is willing to wear matching shirts?)

Ahh, now I'm starting to get tired again. Need sleep to travel safe. I hope we all have safe travel. I would be compromising my integrity though if I don't mention that one of the main reasons I am making this trek is to see Tim Minchin perform at this historic event. I can't wait to hear what songs he has chosen and to hear his talky bits too. Rain or no, I'm totally psyched about this weekend. Must sleep and dream of cherry blossoms and Minchin.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I have given my blog a new look and a new name! I didn’t like the dark background, and I have decided to broaden my horizons a bit. “Tim Minchin for UU” was so…specific. Although I can typically relate any event or idea to Tim Minchin, I find sometimes I’m wanting to write about other things besides Tim Minchin (gasp!). Or maybe things about Tim Minchin which may not necessarily relate to UUism (like an artistic nude portrait I did based on the song below; more details later). I am going to allow myself more freedom in what I post.

Admittedly, I’m sure it will mostly still be Tim things or UU things or the intersection thereof. That’s why I am calling it “A Free and Responsible Search for Truth and Minchin”, which is, of course, a play on one of the UU principles, “a free and responsible search for meaning”.

So on that note, please enjoy "If You Really Loved Me".